It's a Wonderful Life

...I think about examples, how you act and what you dare
'Cause you never know who's watching or how far the story goes...
[Heather Dale -- One of Us]

Maybe it's inevitable that I resonated with those words, me being a child who grew up watching It's a Wonderful Life every year around Christmas time, learning my whole life that what you do affects others in ways you can't know.

I still think it would be nice to know, sometimes.

What's striking me is that there are people who I know have changed my life unconsciously. What do you say to them? Hi, you don't know me, but I'm so glad that you did what you did?

They didn't do it for me, they just did it because... that's who they are. It's who God made them to be. But sometimes I think about my life and how it ties in with the lives of those around me, and I think,

The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places;
Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me.
[Psalm 16:6]

The particular example that brought this to mind is an older brother of a friend of mine. He's probably three or four years older than I am, and I've met him a few times -- when he was visiting the college, when he was at church with his fiancee. And he has no particular reason to know me, but I thank God for him and for the example he set.

See, the year before I came to college, his sister and another friend of mine roomed together, their freshman year. He was a good older brother, and showed his sister (and her roommate) some of the ropes of what you should know for college, things that you might not be taught in classrooms.

That all trickled down to me through the challenge, which is a story in its own right, the story of how this man's sister's roommate (feel like this should end up at 31 Flavors somehow?) decided to continue the mentoring process.

So, like he doesn't know and very possibly will never know how he helped to change my life, I expect that a lot goes on for all of us that we don't know. I know about him mostly through spending a lot of time digging out stories and piecing fragments together. I don't know of a way to thank him; I'm not sure that it would even be fair to try. Maybe it is better to just thank God, the Giver of all good gifts.

And then pay it forward.

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